The Wardman UK team travelled down to the ExCel exhibition centre in London to attend day two of Microsoft's Future Decoded expo, as we look forward to the future Microsoft AI applications and hear from industry leaders to how Microsoft's innovations, developments affect how they work.

Here are some highlights from what we found interesting and valuable from the event.

Morning Keynote

We began the day at the morning Keynote which was opened by Microsoft Research Cambridge's Professor Christopher Bishop who spoke at length about the importance of data to machine learning and how Microsoft AI can help change the world as we know it.

One of the most powerful and meaning applications of AI is within the healthcare industry, and as Mr Bishop put it may be entirely unethical to restrict AI developments that have the potential to save lives. I think to the Bill Gates documentary on Netflix - Inside Bill's Brain, where in the first episode we follow the activities of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in their fight against Polio in Africa. After many attempts to eradicate the disease, they notice that the reappearance of cases are happening around county borders where each respective county are under the assumption that their neighbour is dealing with area of inconspicuousness. With this data, they were able to more efficiently plot their distribution of vaccines.

Data-driven machine learning is saving lives.

Silver Cloud

Joining Christopher Bishop on stage now was Silver Cloud CEO Ken Cahill. I chose to highlight this mostly because I think what Silver Cloud can offer their users is both valuable in today's society.Silver Cloud is app-based behavioural healthcare service with the aim to deliver mental healthcare on a digital platform. Silver Cloud are using AI to development treatment maps and identify mental health traits and solutions from a global audience to help deliver personalised and effective therapy to those in need.We could all do with adopting a better approach to our well-being and Silver Cloud seem to me to be at the forefront of that movement.

The Circuit

An important message from Simon Gillispie of the British Heart Foundation who have partnered with Microsoft to roll out 'The Circuit' a national network of every on-site defibrillator device. Over 100,000 of these were initially commissioned and currently the ambulance service only know where 40,000 of these are located.The circuit was launched to help locate the other 60,000.

With every passing minute, your chance of surviving an Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest reduces by over 10%.

By using an onsite defibrillator you can massively increase the chance of survival, so it is of critical importance the ambulance service know where the nearest defibrillator is located so life-saving care can be provided prior to their arrival. If you have an on-site defibrillator, please check if it's registered here.

You could save a life.


Jenny Lay-Flurrie, the Chief Accessibility Officer, now took the stage to showcase how AI is making the digital spare more accessible for the differently enabled. I'll be honest, I do not consider accessibility much, if at all, in any of our communications. I must now say I am inspired and will consider what I can to include everyone in Wardman UK's communications.

Microsoft is making it easier for us to consider inclusion when we build content, by simply filling out the Alt Text fields, which describes pictures to visually impaired individuals.To help make websites more accessible Microsoft have released their accessibility checker and tools onto git hub which has a cool feature that allows you to modify how the AI reads out the content so you can make sure the webpage is read in the correct order.

AI can help to build a digital space that can include everyone

Azure AI

Azure General Manager, David Camora, provided an insightful demonstration of Azure AI technology in action.An exciting new development was the presentation trainer in PowerPoint which listens to your presentation and measures such metrics as speed, clarity, and overuse of words and filler words. No more boring my partner or mirror. You can set goals and get feedback to when you achieve them.

The use of AI chatbots for a local transport website was also demonstrated where the David Camora asked a few simple questions like "when is the next bus to..." the answers were concise and it did eliminate the need for a human component. I am still undecided on the use of bots, although I understand automation enhances customer experience, I feel they devalue human interaction in some cases.

Christian Horner Redbull Racing

As a self-confessed motor-head I was extremely excited to hear from team principal Christian Horner from Redbull Racing.For me, this is where everything came together, the many applications of Microsoft and AI into an easy to consume F1 Scenario, from logistics to race data, manufacturing to race simulation.

When you think about it, Formula 1 has to be the biggest team sport in the world. There are over 800 members of an F1 team from the drivers to analysts, all working towards one goal, a successful race. You must also remember the immense amount of data the teams must collect in order to shave grams in order to save milliseconds on a single lap. Red Bull aren't currently Microsoft partners but I imagine with the sheer amount of data they must collect and all the relevant users it must be delivered to quickly, it could be a championship-winning partnership.

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